Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chris Christie: Raw Courage in New Jersey.

(Hat Tip: Mish Shedlock of Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis. )

In today's environment, no one ever says governing is easy.

In an unusually candid appraisal of the sorry state of affairs
of the "Soprano State" of New Jersey, newly-elected Governor
Chris Christie laid it on the line for 200 mayors of the New
Jersey League of Municipalities at the statehouse in Trenton.

Fortunately, the speech was carried live by New Jersey Public
Television. A link to the speech can be found here.

Warning: This is not an easy speech to listen to. It's twenty-six
minutes long, beginning with a few public service messages.
And when it comes to the painful realities of taxing, spending,
and governance in general, Gov. Christie's blunt candor will
shock a few and surprise many.

A few excerpts:

" In the time we got here, of the approximately $29 billion
budget, there was only $14 billion left. Of the $14 billion,
$8 billion could not be touched because of contracts with
public worker unions, because of bond covenants, because
of commitments we made accepting stimulus money. So
we had to find a way to save $2.3 billion in a $6 billion
pool of money.

" When I went into the treasurer's office in the first two weeks
of my term, there were no happy meetings. They presented
me with 378 possible freezes, cuts, and lapses in order to
balance the budget. I accepted 375 of them.

" There is a great deal of discussion about me doing that by
executive action. Every day that went by was a day where
money was going out the door such that $6 billion pool was
getting less and less. So something needed to be done.

" The people did not send me here to talk, they sent me here to
do. So we took the executive action we did to stop the bleeding.

" As we move forward, and we evaluate what we need to do in
three weeks in our 2011 budget address, you all need to
understand the context from which we operate.

" Our citizens are the most overtaxed in America. U.S.
mayors hear it all the time. You know that the public
appetite for ever-increasing taxes has reached an end".

In the same vein, Gov. Christie goes on to talk about
problems with school boards, public employee unions,
and the old saw about how ferreting out waste and abuse
will somehow miraculously balance the budget.

And Gov. Christie knows something about that. Prior
to running for governor, Chris Christie was the U.S.
Attorney for the Northern District of New Jersey,
where his main job was putting corrupt public union
officials, corrupt office holders and their mobster
friends in jail.

When it comes to tackling corruption, waste, fraud
and abuse, (the well-documented principal activities
of New Jersey's public sector), take my word for it -
Gov. Christie is an expert.

More from Gov. Christie:

" You know, at some point there has to be parity.
There has to be parity between what is happening
in the real world, and what is happening in the public
sector world. The money does not grow on trees outside
this building or outside your municipal building. It
comes from the hardworking people who are suffering and
are hurting right now.

And so we need to get honest with each other. In this instance,
the political class, which unfortunately we are all members of,
is lagging behind the public on this. The public is ready to hear
that tough choices have to be made. They're not going to like it.
Don't confuse the two. But they are ready to hear the truth.

"They are tired of hearing, don't worry I can spare you from the
pain, because they have been hearing that for a decade, as we
have borrowed and spent and taxed our way to oblivion.

"We have done every quick fix in the book that you can do.
And now we are literally left holding the bag.

"And don't look to the "private sector" as a source of
additional revenue. During the administration of
my predecessor Gov. Corzine (former Senator,
former Goldman Sachs bankster - ed.), some $70 billion
of private sector capital and investment left the state;
never to return.

"There's literally nothing more left to tax - and nothing else
to do but what we are now doing."

The message coming through loud and clear: The public is
tired. Tired of tax increases. Tired of aggressive and abusive
public sector unions whose pay and benefits dwarf anything
similar in the private sector. Tired of endless state-funded
entitlements and "unmet needs" from which they do not
benefit and for which they must pay.

In just a few short weeks, Governor Christie has:

a) Frozen, cut or allowed to lapse some 375 separate
government spending programs;

b) Challenged the state education and teacher's lobbies;

c) Challenged the "arbitration" system of public-sector
collective bargaining;

d) Demanded public-private sector wage and benefits parity;

e) Demanded public-sector pension reform;

f) Demanded an end to open-ended entitlement programs;
he'll challenge them in court if necessary.

g) Made clear he is not thinking about the next election.

In sum - LEADERSHIP. Something clearly lacking in the
White House, Congress, and almost every statehouse and
city hall in this country.

And, if Chris Christie can make it work, this is not the end
of his public career, but rather a very auspicious beginning.

Attention: California, New York, Illinois, are you
listening? You need to learn how to do this.

Give Governor Christie a call - NOW.


  1. Watch and read mohammed T-shirt art from Sweden at

  2. NJ has been duped. A Democratic governor would be given Hope and Change by Obama, making way for an easier fix and a reduction of hostile GOP "fixes" that will wreck the state in a similar way George Bush wrecked the country. There is saving grace for Governor Christie; if he pushes back against the tea party, mocking and ridiculing them, and hopefully even taking action against them, he may be better than his right-wing profile suggests. If he is supporting the tea party then he must be removed ASAP.

  3. California has Arnold in charge- nothing is going to get done while he is in charge. Same goes for California's Prop. 13 still being on the books. New York and Illinois have minor problems and should work themselves out naturally.